Monday, July 27, 2009

Buffardin, Pierre-Gabriel

Buffardin, Pierre-Gabriel
(b Provence, c1690; d Paris, 13 Jan 1768)

French flautist and teacher, active in Germany. Marseilles is sometimes cited as his native city, but 18th-century sources indicate only that he came from Provence. As a young man he was taken to Constantinople by the French ambassador, and there, sometime before 1712, taught Johann Jacob Bach, J.S. Bach's younger brother. In November 1715 Buffardin entered the service of Augustus II in Dresden, and was soon regarded as one of the outstanding players in the court orchestra. Under Augustus III his stipend of 500 thalers was raised to 1000, and in 1749 he was pensioned. During his years in Dresden he maintained contacts with his homeland, and in 1726 and 1737 performed in the Concert Spirituel in Paris. He returned to France in 1750 and on 24 July of that year performed for the Dauphine. A letter by Buffardin concerning the use of quarter-tones on the flute appeared in the September 1764 volume of the Mercure (pp.186ff; discussed by Reilly and Solum). For four months Buffardin was the teacher of J.J. Quantz, and also of F.J. Götzel and P.G. Florio. Quantz indicated that his special skill lay in the performance of quick pieces. The Dutch flautist A. Mahaut credited him with the invention of a divided foot-piece with a tuning slide for the flute. Buffardin was not well known as a composer, and only two of his compositions appear to survive: a trio-sonata in A for flute, violin and continuo (F-Pn; facs., Banhagen, 1989) and a flute concerto in E minor (D-SWl; ed. H. Augsbach, Leipzig, 1984). The latter is also credited, probably mistakenly, to Quantz (B-Bc) and to Scherer (S-)

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